Kieryn’s Kindergarten Year

We’re about ready to start our 2016-2017 year tomorrow.  Madeline starts 6th grade (I still think something must have gotten messed up somewhere, because that doesn’t seem possible).  Anson starts 4th.  And Kieryn starts 1st.

Before we begin, I thought I’d post the recap of Kieryn’s kindergarten year that our umbrella school asked me to turn in. (I have been so absent on this blog, that advantage needs to be taken when I can capture any memories with little extra effort.)

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Kieryn had been eager to begin school for a while, but given my busyness with two in school ahead of her, and one toddler and a newborn behind her, I was not as eager.  Her oldest sibling, Madeline, however, began doing “school” with her when she was four, and by the time she began kindergarten this past school year, she was well-primed and ready to go.

Bible

We used Sonbeams as the basis for our Bible time.  Each week, we had a new verse to learn, going in ABC order.  The verses we memorized are:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Believe in the Lord Yeshua and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
Even a child is known by his actions by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)
God is love (1 John 4:16)
Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by YHWH? (Deuteronomy 33:29)
I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
Make a joyful noise to YHWH, all the earth! (Psalm 100:1)
Nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17:20)
Do not be Overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
Praise YHWH! (Psalm 148:1)
Look! I am coming Quickly and my reward is with me to repay each person according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
Trust in YHWH with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Sing Unto YHWH a new song; Sing unto YHWH, all the earth. (Psalm 96:1)
I am the Vine; you are the branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Do not be anXious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
YHWH your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

At the beginning of the week, we would read the verse and sing a song version of the verse.  Kieryn would read along in a “box” form of the verse, where every word was written in its own box like this:

Kieryn Kindergarten Scripture Box

After reading it, she would cut it into horizontal strips and would have to place it back in order.  The next day, we’d sing our verse song again and then cut the strips vertically one time.  She would again piece the words into the correct order. She continued cutting the strip each day until all the words were separate.  She also did a handwriting sheet where she traced the words of the verse.

Kieryn joins us for our daily family Bible time that her Daddy leads.  She also reads independently from her own storybook Bible.

Typing

Kieryn has completed a typing tutorial program on BBC’s website. It has four levels, each focusing on a group of keys.  It effectively teaches kids how to properly place their fingers and rewards them with dancing animals singing silly songs at the end of each level.

Phonics

Kieryn completed her phonics program using the Starfall website and workbooks.  She is a very proficient reader, eager to practice her ever-expanding skills.

Writing

Taking after her big sister, who loves to write, Kieryn enjoys writing short stories. Most of her stories include words sounded out phonetically, which adds unintended adventure to the reading.  Occasionally, Kieryn will type a story and her sister will act as editor, correcting grammar. Other times, her sister will act as transcriptionist, typing out the story as Kieryn dictates it. Following is an excerpt from one such story:

Chapter 1

Dina was in a shack. It was her home. And she had lost her family. Her dog was named Marina. It was a girl dog. Dina ran with her dog to the store. Dina made her own bowls and plates out of sticks and other nature items. She got bread, butter, milk, eggs, and dog food. She paid ten dollars. She ran back with her dog. (Marina didn’t have a leash on either.) She ran back. She made dinner over a fire. And she gave Marina some dog food. And she ate some food. And then they went to bed.

Math

Kieryn completed the Math U See Primer book this year.  Though she still needs a bit more work to remember how to write the numbers 11-19, and how to skip count by fives, I have no doubt she’ll gain mastery of those as we review them in the next level.

Science

Kieryn joined her siblings as they studied elementary anatomy and physiology.  She colored sheets showing different bones, organs, and blood vessels.  She also memorized poems about each of the five senses:

Eyes

I need my eyes, so I can see
I don’t have five, or one, or three
Just two eyes upon my face
It seems to be a common place
For eyes to sit on animals
From frogs, to fish, from bears, to gulls

Two eyes, one face – that’s a match
But really here’s a little catch
Spiders see with eight bug-eyes
And here’s another eye surprise
Scallops have most of all
More than fifty! Must see all!
I’ll stick with two; they let me see
My two eyes are good for me!

Tongue

If sweet-sweet candy had no taste
That would be a total waste!

Chocolate milk that tastes like water?
Won’t be found on my order

Pizza pies that taste like air?
That’s not right! That’s not fair!

That won’t happen, for I know
Tongue’s the one in the show

Salty, sour, bitter, sweet
My tongue’s taste buds can’t be beat

My tongue, the organ, gives me taste
Without it foods would be a waste!

Skin

Skinny Skin, stretched smoothly tight
Around my body day and night

Largest organ that I own
Bigger than my brain or bone

My skin gives me the sense of touch
Hot or cold, smooth or rough

Hard or soft, hand or heel
It’s my skin that lets me feel

Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face
Jack Prelutsky

 

Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.

Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.

Your nose would be a source of dread
were it attached atop your head,
it soon would drive you to despair,
forever tickled by your hair.

Within your ear, your nose would be
an absolute catastrophe,
for when you were obliged to sneeze,
your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,
remains between your eyes and chin,
not pasted on some other place–
be glad your nose is on your face!

Ears

An ear splitting sound!
A crash and a boom!
Ringing so loudly,
It shook the whole room!

But I didn’t hear it
I couldn’t at all
My left and right ear
Had gone to the mall!

My left and right ear
My organs that hear
Had gone to go shopping
And that’s what I fear

Without my 2 ears
That spectacular pair
I can’t hear sound waves
Move through the air!

Disposition towards school

Kieryn is an excellent student.  In fact, she’s been my easiest student so far!  In general, she is very focused, has a cheerful attitude, does careful work, and does not get easily discouraged by corrections. I am so thankful for these things!

 

Anson: Nine-year-old

Anson’s birthday was a little over two weeks ago.  Given my record of majorly delayed interviews these last couple of years, combined with this being the day before we begin school, I asked Madeline to conduct Anson’s interview.  Not only would it free me up a bit, but I figured it would be neat to see how it went.😉

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So, how do you feel? Being eight I mean.

Nine!

Oh yeah. Sorry. I guess I’m just used to an eight-year-old-Anson! So, what are some of your hobbies?

Eating.

What else?

Hmmm. Soccer, basketball.

Well, that’s cool. What kind of things do you like to eat?

Wraps.

Okay.

Donuts. Cake. Ice cream.

(This picture is from last year, but it shows Anson’s love for ice cream.)

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I’m not surprised.

Five Guys.

What else?

Zaxbys. Sonic. Chick-fil-a.

Well, okay, but you’re going junk-food.

Mmmhhhhmm. How about this: Caesar salad.

We’ve made a small improvement.
Hey!

A pretty big improvement. How’s that?

That’s better.

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So, I would like you to name something about all your family members you enjoy.

(Seconds pass. He puts his head on the table and bangs it gently. He’s thinking.) Well… funny, funny, funny, funny, funny, and funny.

That doesn’t count.

What!?

Do it again.

But everybody’s silly in our family.

Fine, but we all have different things we’re good at, or… you get it.

(Kieryn says to Anson, “Like you. You’re good at climbing!” They proceed to copy lines from Despicable Me. Then they get silly and start whispering lines! I love it when they interact.)

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Guys! Let’s get moving. We only got a little bit in.

(Kieryn says, “But that’s a lot Madeline!” Then she begins to read the previous conversations.)

I’m serious. Let’s get going again. Anson, what do you like about being neighbors with our friends?

You’re supposed to say, “friends” he says in a southern accent. (He’s imitating our neighbor, Hadassah, who is Kieryn’s age. Then Kieryn begins to sing, “Friends, friends, friends!” Then they get up from the table and start running away, pretending they’re penguins.)

Anson! Come back! Okay, let’s try this one more time. Anson, okay, come here. You’re going to like this one! Tell me some fun facts about an animal.

Mmmm. A crocodile can get to be twenty feet long.

Wow! Really?

Yeah. Do you remember seeing Gomech? Imagine him three feet bigger!

Was Gomech a croc or gator?

Oh, definitely croc. He was a salt water crocodile.

Oh. I thought he was a gator. He was massive though! I bet he could’ve fit just about ten of me in there! What else do you know Anson?

Well, can I keep talking about this for a second?

Sure, go ahead.

Okay. Gators are much smaller than crocs. The biggest gator gets to be about 14 feet long.

And you say the crocs get to be even bigger?!

Yes!

I didn’t know that! What else do you know? On another animal this time.

Okay. (He says sadly) I was going to say something really quick.

Well, go ahead I guess.

Thanks! Do you remember how tall was his head to the ground?

No I don’t. How tall?

I’m guessing probably how tall I was then.

I’m guessing you’re probably right.

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Hey! Do you want to say what we found out Eden could do yesterday?

Yeah! She can walk!

Not just with our help though right?

Yeah! All by herself!

It’s very cool.

Yes it is.

Little Eden’s growing up.

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Anson, I have another question for you.

Okay…. (He says it hesitatingly.)

You have a blog about animals, right?

Yup.

Okay, what is it’s name?

Animal wow! Capitalize “Animal” and “Wow”

Actually, you don’t capitalize it.

No. I’m saying please do.

Oh, okay. Let’s see… Animal Wow. There.  So, do you want to link it?

(He nods) Yes!

Okay, here: animalwow.wordpress.com

There. That’s done. What do you want to tell readers now?

(He thinks for a minute) I’m not sure.

Well, let me help you. mmmmm. Do you want to say something else about animals?

No it’s okay. They can go to my blog.

Okay, then. Umm. Do you want to say something that you like doing with Daddy?

Ummm. (Seconds go by.) Playing LEGOS. (He says, “No Madeline. It’s capitilized: LEGOS.” I capitalize it but the computer doesn’t recognize. He says, “What??!”)

What else?

I don’t know.

How about this: Ouch. (My wrist hurts from typing so much.)

(He says, “Ouch?”)

Well, let’s wrap it up soon, okay?

Okay! This interview is over!

No, I said, “SOON.”. Do you want to tell readers what kind of games you like to play with your siblings?

I don’t know.

You know Anson, we have 695 words right now typed up. Amazing?

Yep.

Do you want to say what’s happened recently with Memere?

She’s in Florida.

For how long?

I don’t know.

Why is she there?

Cause Grande-memere had a stroke.

Right. Are we and you specifically praying for both of them??

Yes.

(Here is a picture of mom and Anson playing chess while we were visiting Grande-memere in Florida)

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That’s very good. Now…. Okay, let’s change the subject to more happy things: What time is it right now?

(He looks at the clock) 9:05

pm. or am?

am.

That’s right! How have things been going with school?

I don’t know. We haven’t been doing school. We start it tomorrow.

Right! That’s funny. Okay, well, before we close-

Can we try to get to a thousand words?

Yeah! Sure! That’d be a fun thing to make as our goal. I’ll see if I can hold up until then. Right now we have 831 words. How many does that make to a thousand?

I don’t know.

Oh, common, Anson!

Okay.

How much is 831 words to a thousand words?

(He thinks for… not all that long actually.) 279.

Okay, let’s go check a calculator. Will you grab one?

Sure.

(He gets up and is trying to find it.) Finally, he shouts, “I can’t find one!” Then he and Grandpa talk about calculation.

So, what is it?

169.

Aw. I see. Okay, well, we still have-

Ninety words to go.

Okay.

How much is 831 words to a thousand words?

(He thinks for… not all that long actually.) 279.

Okay, let’s go check a calculator. Will you grab one?

Sure.

(He gets up and is trying to find it.) Finally, he shouts, “I can’t find one!” Then he and Grandpa talk about calculation.

So, what is it?

169.

Aw. I see. Okay, well, we still have-

Ninety words to go.

 

We’re there!

Wow!!! You’re right!!! We’re at 1013! That’s awesome!

Okay, just one more question……….. Two more: what bible verse has proved to help you when you need it.

Isaiah 41:10.

Recite it real quick.

Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am you God. I will strengthen you and help you and uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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Good job! And what about your sleepover?

Awesome!

But nobody knows anything about it, so tell them about it.

I had a sleepover at AJ’s house. For two nights.

(Below is a picture of Anson and AJ at a field trip a few months back.)

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I’m sure it was very fun. Alright, well, he’s eating oatmeal so we’ll wrap up now.

Bye! (Simeon says, “Bye!”)

Including this paragraph, we got to 1160 words without stop. He has grown into a handsome and wise young man. I encourage all those who read to comment on him and congratulate him and his parents for being raised and raising such excellence!

Kieryn: 5 years old

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Oh, babygirl, Kieryn… Tell me about yourself.

What do you mean about myself?

(Okay, maybe that question  is still a bit too open-ended for a five year old.)

Well, tell me how you like doing school  now that you are a kindergartner.

Well, I like doing school, because I get to read books, and make books, and color.  I get to do science.  I get to count. (She proceeds to count to 20.) And that’s why I like school!  And I like doing Starfall.

(I must say, she is my best student so far.  Where Madeline had a bit of trouble accepting direction, Kieryn has none.  Where Anson struggled with motivation or discouragement, Kieryn has not.  She is eager to learn, and doesn’t crumble when I tell her that her 5 is backwards. It’s been a very exciting time as a teacher, especially considering that I was a bit concerned about what life would look like to incorporate a third child into our school day. She’s made it easy and fun!)

Tell me what your favorite book is.

Mox the Fox, because there are cakes in it.

(Yep, she’s still our Sugar Queen.  The others reach a point of being unable to finish a big treat, but not Kieryn.  She offers to finish what the others cannot.)

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What is your favorite book to read for bedtime? Like one that Mommy or Madeline reads to you.

I like the one, “How Can it Be Worse?”

Tell me what that story is about.

So, there’s a mom and a dad. They had a lot of kids.  They were making noise, and noise, and noise.  They didn’t want that.  So, they went to a person who told them, “Bring in the donkey. Bring in the cow. Bring in the goats.” And then they brought them in.  And then, I think, Miriam said, “It’s even worser!” So, they let all the animals out, and then it was quiet.

So their kids didn’t make noise anymore?

I think. (Madeline corrects.  “No, the parents just thought it wasn’t as loud.  The animals made extra noise, so when the animals went away it sounded quieter, and they realized it could be worse.)

What kinds of things do you like to do when it’s not school time?

Go outside and ride bikes with Simeon. (This is one of her primary activities when I am doing school with the two oldest.) Play with Anson’s cars with him. Or play babydolls with Madeline.

What else do you like to do with Madeline?

Feed her fish with her. And go outside with her.  And, um… Play babydolls.

What about drawing?

Yeah! Draw with her. Color with her.

(Madeline gives her drawing lessons, and will sometimes draw pictures for Kieryn to color. They have a very sweet, close relationship.  I’m not sure she knows it, but Madeline is her best friend.  Madeline washes her hair when they shower together and will help pick out her clothes and get her hair brushed and done up.  Sometimes they come out of the room after a long getting-ready-session and they both have fancy dresses and abundant accessories. They make sisterhood look beautiful.)

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What are you favorite dolls or stuffed animals?

Lamby is my favorite stuffed animal. I think Emma is the best doll.  I think so.

What is your favorite color?

Probably red. I really like red.

So, it’s not pink or purple anymore?

I don’t think so.

(Well, they say you learn something new everyday.  This is my something for today.)

What are your favorite things to eat?

Caesar salad with croutons, potato soup, juice, broccoli with Ranch, waffles.

What is your favorite thing God made?

Oh dear. Is this an animal thingy?

It could be.

Flowers, animals, humans, and trees and plants.

What is your favorite day of the week?

The Shabbat day and the days that we go on dates!

What is your favorite thing about Daddy?

That he lets us go to the park, and he lets us eat ice cream, and he lets us go to services. And he lets us see Johnny and Katie and lots of things.

(An interesting assortment of highlights!)

What is your favorite thing about Mommy?

Oh! You help us do school, and you help Daddy make money for us.  You cook breakfast and dinner and lunch for us. You have babies and that stuff.

(“You have babies and that stuff”… Yes, I guess I do.)

What is your favorite thing about Madeline?

That she draws with me.

What is your favorite thing about Anson?

Playing cars with him. And then what’s my favorite thing about Simeon?

Yep, that was my next question.

That we go and ride bikes together.

And what about Eden?

Oh, I like to hold her.  She’s cute.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

(She echos) What do I want to be when I grow up? …Um… Riding a horse and having a dog.  (“That’s not something you can be,” Madeline says. So, Kieryn adjusts.) A farmer.  Or making a shop and then people buy stuff and I get money. Now what, Mommy? Is that all?

What else would you like to say?

I like colorful leaves and flowers.

And with that, she’s done. She has grown so much over this last year.  We don’t see the abrupt mood swings that were so prevalent last year.  On the occasion when she gets sullen and draws inward, feeling inadequate or unimportant, she hears and responds to the truth we tell her. More and more, we find her settling into her role as a big, important part of this family. We are eager to watch our Elohim continue to grow her into a girl who will one day bring joy into darkness.

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Anson: 8 years old

In customary fashion, we are conducting our birthday interview slightly late.  Almost six months late, to be more precise. Nonetheless, here’s our eight year old boy.

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What is your favorite animal at eight years old?

Every animal.

Every animal? Name them all.  In alphabetical order.

I can’t name them…

What about your favorite animal? If you had to choose one, what would you choose?

I would leave the room.

Too many animals?

Yes, I like all animals.  Even mice. People look at the down side of them…

If you could be one kind of food what would you be?

I’d probably be… burnt gasoline, because nobody would eat me.

(The other kids have been sitting on the bed behind Anson until now.  But this was evidently too much for them to handle quietly.  Erich tries to reign them in.)

No comment from the peanut gallery, please.

Oh, good point! I’d be rotten peanuts! Then nobody would eat me.

(At this point, we pause the interview to reassess the interview direction. We resume, but it still takes a while for us to get to some really good stuff.)

What are some of your favorite things to do at eight years old?

Ride my bike, play soccer, play more soccer after that, play basketball, a little more basketball, come inside to watch tv, do a little not-so-fun school, jump on the trampoline…

Let me ask you a little bit about school.

Uh oh.

No. No bad attitudes about school. What is your favorite subject?

Oh dear… Maaa…. Grrrr…. Probably geography.  Well, actually, my first is science, but not the human stuff as much.  The animal stuff.

Do you have a least favorite subject in school?

Probably phonics or grammar.

You don’t like to label sentences much do you?

Not very much.

(But as his teacher, I must report that he does very well with them. On the days when he works with a good attitude, he zips through it pretty skillfully.)

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I want you to tell me just one thing you love about each of your siblings.  Starting with Eden.

She is so cute and she can crawl really quickly.  And I hope she can eat food soon.

Why?

Because then she’ll be able to eat my green beans for me and stuff.

You’re going to feed her your vegetables?

I like Caesar salad, and sometimes I eat asparagus.  But I can feed her black olives and stuff.

What about Simeon?

He’s funny and sometimes tricky.

What about Kieryn?

She’s funny. And now it’s Madeline.

Okay. What is one of your favorite things about Madeline?

Um… I like to play with her and she’s funny too.

We have a very funny family, don’t we?

You’re funny too.  And I love mom. And she helps us and cooks for us.  Well, usually.  Yesterday we made breakfast – the kids did.

(They did, indeed.  Every now and then, Erich and I wake to the sounds of clanking dishes.  We smell breakfast smells.  Then, the bigger ones send a smaller one into our room to make sure we stay put until they summon us. When we come downstairs, we find an empty, dark room. Suddenly, the lights come on and kids hop out of every corner shouting, “Surprise!”  We have cool kids.)

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What is your favorite book of the Bible?

Revelation.  Or Genesis.  Maybe the Psalms.  I also like to hear about the kings.

Tell me about the tapes you like to listen to before bed.

(A college-age friend of our family passed on her set of Bible story tapes from her childhood. Our kids listen to them almost every night.  It’s actually the primary motivator to get our kids ready and in bed by 8:30.  If they don’t get into bed in time, they don’t get a tape.)

The one about Elisha and the army of Assyria.  Their army was surrounding the city Elisha was in. Angels smit the army with blindness and Elisha took the Assyrian army into the midst of Samaria.

Is that your favorite story?

Probably.

What do you want to be when you grown up?

Probably a police officer.  Maybe I want to have a job at home.  Something I can do at home that doesn’t take very long, but that I can get paid really well.

(He gets this kind of ambition from his dad.)

Tell me about what chores you do.

I clear the table, wipe the table, brush my teeth, and feed the cats.

What is your favorite meal?

Probably chicken fingers with Zax sauce. That’s reallly good.

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What are your favorite colors?

Green and blue.

Tell me about some of the hard things have happened this year.

I remember school. It’s just hard. Well, some school. (Madeline whispers something.) Oh yeah.  It’s been hard about Wild Kratts.

You have a pretty incredible testimony about taking authority over the enemy.

(He has a wonderful testimony of victory over the enemy, but he’s not ready to share it.  Though we have explained that we all sin and that our God’s greatness shines forth in how He redeems us from our sin, he gets very sad remembering some of the harsh, untrue words he said.  We were able to record his telling of the story for historical record, but for now, I just wanted to say here that our God is faithful and good.  Anson is on his way to becoming a warrior for the kingdom.)

(Around this time, we get off track again.  Erich says something about Anson’s favorite movie being How to Train Your Marsupial. Anson puts his eyelids inside out. And the children erupt into a wrestle-fest… We do another reassessment of the interview.  This time, we decide to send the other kids out and to wrap up with just Anson.)

What are you really good at?

I’m good at soccer, and I’m good at thinking.

What else?

I’m good at… What am I good at?

Do you want me to help you think of other things?

Mmm…Yes.

You’re good at building things out of Legos and learning facts about animals or states. Actually, you are great at learning all sorts of facts.  You learn memory work faster than everyone else. (He can rattle through bones of the skull, parts of the eye, and dozens of scriptures with ease.) You are great at Hebrew, especially making the “chet” sound. (Although when he gets exuberant with it, it’s a little scary…) You pick things up quickly and are a fast learner when you put your mind to it. (That seems to satisfy everyone, so we move on.)

What do you like to sleep with at night?

I like to sleep with Snoopy, Puppy, Bane, and all my animals.

Once again, things get off track. Erich and Anson end up getting involved in some kind of Buffalo game where Anson uses his head to try to shove Erich off the bed.  This time, we’re not going to reign it in.  We’re done for the night, and that’s probably a good thing.

You are a boy with immense potential, Anson.  We are excited to watch our faithful Abba continue to grow and mature you!

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Interpreting Dreams and Flawed Biblical Logic

A friend of mine recently posted this on facebook. I love how succinctly he put it.

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Question 1: “Pharaoh had a dream about seven fat cows, followed by seven skinny cows. Was the dream really about cows?”

Answer 1: “Of course not! Scripture reveals just a few verses later that the dream was about seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine.”

Question 2: “Joseph had a dream about his brothers’ sheaves of wheat bowing to his own sheaf. Was the dream really about wheat?”

Answer 2: “No! Later on, we learn that this was a prophecy, fortelling of the event when his brothers would come to Egypt, not recognize him, and yet bow down to him.”

Question 3: “Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a multi-metal statue. Was the dream really about a statue?”

Answer 3: “Not at all! It was about the different kingdoms that would arise, starting with Babylon. Daniel gives the interpretation right after the dream is revealed, just a few verses later!”

Question 4: “Peter had a dream about a sheet of unclean animals. He hears a voice say, ‘Arise, slay, and eat.’ Was his dream really about unclean animals now becoming acceptable as food?”

Answer 4: “Of course it was! Can’t you read? He says slay and eat! Duh! Of course all unclean meats can be eaten now! Never mind verse 28 where he says something about PEOPLE being unclean, that is completely unrelated. This dream doesn’t need to be interpreted, it should be taken literally.”

No More Mosaic Law? A Response to a Seminary Professor’s Position

This is part of a series that began here.

In my last post I wrote about an article I read earlier this week about the transforming power the book of Leviticus has on our hearts and worship.  The article led me to a short series of Leviticus Q&A videos the author had also done. I really enjoyed the first four videos, but I was disappointed by the answers presented in the fifth.

The fifth question was: Are Christians inconsistent with their use and application of Old Testament law today?

Dr. Jay Sklar, professor of Old Testament and dean of faculty at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, gives his perspective on this question below.

I was sad that the unity of heart I was experiencing with Dr. Sklar up to this point regarding Leviticus was dashed by what I felt was such a scripturally weak response.

Here are four issues I had with it:

1) Pitting the Old Covenant against the New Covenant

Around 1:50, Dr. Sklar points out that the covenant God made with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai was the Old Covenant and that Jesus came to establish a New Covenant. He says that the laws of the Old do not necessarily apply in the New.

But this is in direct opposition to what the LORD Himself says will happen in the New Covenant.  He says with the New Covenant, “I will put my laws within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

God gives no indication that certain chunks of His law will suddenly vanish in this New Covenant. In fact, the major differentiation between the two covenants seems to be that in the old the laws were external to the people whereas in the new the laws would be internal – in their hearts.  So, it’s not a removal of the law, but an internalization of it that seems to differentiate the two covenants.

Our Savior also gives no indication that certain chunks of the law would vanish after He ushered in the New Covenant.  To the contrary, He said that He didn’t come to abolish the law or the prophets and that not an iota or a dot would pass from the law until heaven and earth pass away.  He went on to say that whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. (Mathew 5:17-19)

Paul, the one most credited for leading us out of the “bondage” of the Mosaic law, said that we should by no means overthrow the law by our faith in the Messiah.  On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:31)

And the saints of the last days are called to endurance.  Who are those saints? Those who “keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” (Revelation 14:12)

2) Only the Laws Repeated in the New Testament are in Effect

Around 2:20, Dr. Sklar takes the angle that only laws that are repeated in the New Testament are binding on believers today.

But, again, there is no scriptural basis for making such a claim.

Our Savior said that those whose will is to do God’s will, would know whether the things he taught were from God not.  Those who had it in their hearts to obey the commandments of God would know that Jesus’ teachings always matched up with God’s.  He never spoke on His own authority. (John 7:17)

If He had come to change God’s laws or to revise which ones were applicable, He would have been a false prophet. The Father clearly warned His people that only false prophets would speak against His commandments (Deut 13:1-5, especially note verse 4).

So, to say that Jesus or any other New Testament writer had the authority to revise the application of God’s law is completely contrary to scripture.  This is a big deal!

3) Values Stand but Ritual Laws Are Unimportant

Around 2:45, Dr. Sklar says that the values we see through the Old Testament laws are ongoing and are still able to teach us about life today.  He points out that the laws about clean and unclean animals given in Leviticus 11 were meant to teach us something on a moral level.

While I wholeheartedly agree with this principle of things in the physical teaching us things in the spiritual, I cannot agree that once we get the spiritual meaning we can then choose to disregard the physical command.

Just because I understand that marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride doesn’t mean that I can then disregard my physical marriage.

Just because I understand that baptism is a picture of my death and resurrection in Christ doesn’t mean that I can disregard the physical practice of baptism.

And just because I understand that clean and unclean animals are pictures of clean and unclean things I must distinguish between morally doesn’t mean that I can disregard the physical practice of abstaining from eating unclean animals.

We are both physical and spiritual beings, and our heavenly Father asks for our obedience in both the physical and spiritual realms.

(Here is a great video that highlights the physical and spiritual truths in God’s clean and unclean animal laws.)

4) Jesus Declared All Foods Clean in Mark Chapter Seven

Around 4:06, Dr. Sklar uses Mark 7 to prove the point that the physical law was no longer important; only the moral law still stood. In fact, Dr. Sklar goes so far as to say,

“Jesus says, Mark chapter 7, ‘Look, in the New Covenant you no longer need to make those distinctions ritually between clean and unclean animals.'”

Is this really what Jesus said?

I did a study on Mark 7, because this section of scripture does seem to seal the deal on the clean/unclean issue.  It was one of the big ones I needed to wrestle through.  Here’s a condensed version of what I found:

The sentence, “Thus He declared all food clean” is NOT in the original text! (Check it out for yourself.)

In fact, the context had nothing to do with what could be eaten as food. The beginning of chapter seven shows us that the context was all about hand-washing.

Some Pharisees, who adhered to a very strict, totally man-made system of hand-washing, saw that Jesus’ disciples ate without washing their hands at all. This made them indignant.

It’s important to note that God never outlined any method of cleansing hands before eating.  Our Savior and His disciples were not breaking any God-given instruction. But the Pharisees were professional extra-Biblical rule-makers. And they were furious when anyone refused to follow them.

The definition of what counted as food was never in question.  God only created certain animals to be eaten. Everyone involved in this conversation was on the same page on that issue.

So, in Mark chapter 7, the Savior did not challenge Mosaic law by changing the definition of food.  He merely challenged the man-made notion that eating with dirty hands would defile you.

(Here is a study looking into the top five New Testament verses used to discount the dietary laws.)

Summary

I still have a great deal of respect for Dr. Sklar based on the other things I’ve read and heard from him.  I love that he finds treasures (applicable to his life today) in Leviticus and that he’s helping others to find those same treasures for themselves.

Where I diverge in understanding from Dr. Sklar is in how to respond to those commands we, as a people of God, haven’t followed for millenia.  I think we need to dig even deeper and question more fully the commandments from which we’ve allowed ourselves to stray.

4 Things That Happen When You Study Leviticus More Than 10 Years

Nature

I really enjoyed reading this article yesterday:

4 Things That Happen When You Study Leviticus More Than 10 Years

The writer, a professor of Old Testament and dean of faculty at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, expressed the same phenomenon that I have experienced as I have read and embraced the first five books of the Bible (including Leviticus) not just as a collection of out-dated rules and sometimes interesting stories, but as a treasure – words that express the very heart of my King. Those books, when taken seriously, have the capacity to transform our hearts and our worship.

The writer also has a short video series on this topic:

Q&A on Leviticus

I really enjoyed the first four videos. I disagree with the fifth, which didn’t entirely surprise me. Since it’s such a big question that deserves thorough study by all believers, I may do a post with a response at some point in the future. Until then, may you be inspired to read through Leviticus with fresh eyes.

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